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Notes on listening to the recording of Mike Coghlan’s synchronous session on Changing Literacies

February 10, 2010

I really meant to attend this session, which was at noon GMT today. I haven’t been to work since last Thursday because of snow; we are experiencing our second major storm of the week as I write this. But I forgot that I had to subtract five hours and get up at 7 am, so I missed it. Darn!!!

Anyway, now I am listening to the recording and wishing I were participating in the chat along with Vance, Joel, and Berta, so I decided to make my comments here as I listen.

Mike began his session by reminding us how inconvenient it used to be to show a video or movie or share a photograph with students back in the 80s. I so remember that! Watching a movie was a major undertaking back then. I remember once having beginning students bring in family photos and talk about who was in the photo; but of course no one else could really see the photos in any detail.

Something odd going on with Elluminate… Mike launched a YouTube video, but Vance couldn’t see it, so they were talking over the video. It reminds me that our new technologies can be equally challenging to work with! They don’t always work as we think they will.

Mention of Andrew Keen’s book “The Cult of the Amateur” reminds me that I still haven’t watched that famous Keen-Weinberger debate! Another to-do item.

Mike mostly skips his slide about blogs, podcasts, wikis, flickr etc. because the group is so small. Wonder how many people, like me, will be listening asynchronously; maybe he should not have assumed a small audience. It was only a small interactive audience.

Kinds of literacies: Pegrum’s 5 lenses (technological, pedagogical, social, sociopolitical, ecological, rhetorical, functional, critical, print, information, search, media…. Does multiliteracy encompass all of these? I think so, that is how I see it.

A site to check (courtesy of Berta): (the Multiliteracy Project)

Is it possible to teach all of these? (And is it our role as ESL or EFL teachers to teach them?) (But whose role then?)

Mike suggests an ethical lens to add to Mark Pegrum’s many lenses, bringing together Pegrum’s culture, class, and identity lenses. He asks, What values determine how you teach? One value that determines how I teach is my belief in cultural relativity. My ideal is to accept and tolerate different beliefs and customs. I do not succeed totally; for example, I am unable to be neutral about things I feel strongly about, like women’s rights, female genital mutilation, and religious intolerance. I think I would not want to accept such things. But I try never to assume that students want to (or should) adopt American values or customs.( Then again, there is the value of academic honesty: I do teach them not to plagiarize; at least I try. I try to explain to them what the underlying value is, but at the same time I let them know that for them, the disadvantage of plagiarism is that they might get caught and expelled from the university. A practical emphasis, in other words.)

Mike ends with the thought that it is not necessary for teachers to be literate in all of these different areas, but we can still encourage our students to use these varied tools to produce work, as long as it fulfills the objective for the task. Since I always feel like I can never catch up with all the new (and old) and evolving technologies, this makes me feel good! 🙂

Mike’s take on edupunk: he isn’t one! He finds the label provocative but not very useful. Vance thinks there have to be people who “get out there and do things”, whatever you call them. “You need to do what you think is right.” I agree, but do not consider myself a “change agent” in this way–I am much too cowardly.

Mike ends with the thought that teachers who focus on formal learning spaces, mass learning, competition, restricted and constructed learning, instruction and content need to shift their focus more toward informal learning spaces, personalized learning, collaborative learning and assessment, creative and extended learning, personal author and innovator and knowledge and understanding. We will serve our students better if we do.

Thanks, Mike, for an informative session. I am really sorry I missed it.

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  1. Nina Liakos permalink

    I know, Elizabeth, the EVO schedule does not always fit in well with participants’ schedules around the world. But it’s a problem with all these online experiences in general. I considered myself a busy person before I started doing all this stuff. The day is still 24 hours long last time I checked, and I still need to sleep 6-7 hours (my body prefers 8) a night. Sometimes I think I will have to retire before I can give my multiliteracies deficits the attention they deserve (and wouldn’t that be a benefit to my students?!)<br><br>The particle physics people probably look at things through that technological lens, but still they cannot avoid the social, sociopolitical, and ecological lenses either. Maybe the pedagogical (unless they go into academia). It’s hard to keep this out of your life these days. I have a few unconnected friends/relatives (mostly older than I), but not many. We don’t all use the same tools, but almost everyone I know does something online.

  2. Elizabeth Anne permalink

    Nina – thanks for getting this out there ! I knew I couldn’t attend the webinar, because a catch-up lesson meant I was actually teaching 8 hours this Wednesday ! (instead of the usual 4hours … for which it was the last lesson of the session, so basically I’ll manage to have time once EVO is over :-(<br>I can’t help feeling all the time that our "multiliteracy" is deepening the science / arts divide (constructivism was never really an option for particle physics) but once again I find myself in the position of bridging the gap .. with all these tools that there’s no reason they should miss out on.<br>Video in class ? last week, one of my students (11 years of studying English behind him ) said he was not taking notes because he couldn’t understand a word … so hey presto, in full view of the class in 30 seconds I was able to embed the video in the class wiki for ‘him’ to listen to at home. The group of supposedly tech savvy kids were impressed.

  3. Nina Liakos permalink

    I agree that one might want to have some personal things on the web. Not everything is sharable, or ready to be shared. People should respect that. One could ask, why upload it then? But I for one love how things look on a wiki or blog. It doesn’t mean I always want to show them to others.

  4. Joel Bloch permalink

    I had an interesting exchange with Michael on public/private. I felt that the development of social media was putting too much pressure on people to make everything public. Michael felt he could publish anything he thought. On the other hand, I am a more private person.Last fall, i was listening to a conference on personal learning spaces. The speaker (I don’t remember her name) was very excited about how she could share her personal learning space. I also have a personal learning space but I had never thought of sharing it. Why? I don’t want to hoard my ideas but I don’t feel any great necessity to share everything I think in public. The recent death of JD Salinger brought out a lot of articles about being a private person in the age of social media. Although he wasn’t the recluse people thought he was, his neighbors didn’t seem to feel the take to post pictures of him. I felt sympathetic to that.

  5. Nina Liakos permalink

    @Mariel Very well put! (and welcome back from your holidays–I hope you had a great time!)

  6. Mariel Amez permalink

    Thnak you Nina for bringing the session to life for me. I missed it – though the time was quite convenient – due to a medical appointment, and haven’t been able to listen to the recording yet.<br><br>I believe you have quite a point when you mention the asynchronous audience. However, it must be hard enough to perform to a live synchronous audience all over the world to add to that the consideration to who will be listening later.<br><br>As regards the ethical lens, I have watched the video Vance recommended <a rel="nofollow" href="; target="_blank"></a&gt; from the K-12 Online Conference and I believe that aspect is addressed in that presentation from an interesting perspective. Of course, not all cultures will agree on this dimension, but isn’t it our duty to foster a certain degree of broad-mindedness while we draw the line at some issues such as the ones that you mention? They may not be the same for everyone, but intercultural competence may mean precisely that we will not compromise on some things, while we are prepared to accept other people may feel just as strongly about others…

  7. Vanessa Vaile permalink

    @Elizabeth ~ I can’t help feeling (or maybe just hoping) that "multiliteracy" (for being technology facilitated) narrows the science / arts divide more than it deepens it. Plus, look how much good writing and videos about science are available online. I have Kurzweil, Scientific American, Wired plus a handful of math teacher blogs on my rss reader.

  8. Vanessa Vaile permalink

    I’m sorry I did too but planned to listen to the session. Then along came a tech problem and late enough in the day that I just threw in the towel for the time being. Another day ~ but now definitely now reading your account. The ethical lens intrigues me: it’s part of the larger question about using knowledge (and technology) responsibly.

  9. Vance Stevens permalink

    Thanks Nina for writing this up and to Joel (who was at the session) for filling us in on the back channeling. I guess what people want to put out there depends on the person, but I think that the more you network the more you find that people appreciate what you have to say, and the more the knowledge in the network percolates through people conversing with one another. In order to learn from one another we have to communicate with one another. Speaking of sharing and communicating, don’t despair if Michael skipped over slides and simply had a conversation with those present. He did record this for an attentive audience in a previous rendition here: <a href="; target="_blank"></a&gt;. It’s good, give it a listen, and it will fill out the parts for you that you wish he hadn’t missed out.

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